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zuul's Journal
zuul's Journal
December 10, 2015

Rahm Emanuel is in Deep, Deep Trouble


More and more — despite his speech Wednesday— it appears resigning could indeed be what Emanuel will be forced to do in order to restore Chicagoans' faith in their government. (Already, an Illinois state lawmaker is starting the process to recall him.)

Thanks in part to a series of missteps by the mayor after the shooting, exacerbated by a longer-term failure to address more systemic problems with Chicago's police department, Emanuel appears to have lost much of the city's trust. His approval rating has hit a record low of 18 percent, and 51 percent of residents think he should resign, according to a new poll from the Illinois Observer.

For Emanuel, trust is the most critical element right now for him to take any meaningful action to help a wounded Chicago. And it's increasingly difficult to envision a scenario in which whatever Emanuel does isn't viewed as a political Hail Mary to save his career by understandably frustrated and suspicious Chicago residents.

President Obama's former chief of staff has a reputation for being a savvy political operator — a real tough guy who plays politics like chess. But in every new twist and turn of the McDonald shooting, Emanuel has appeared to act only after he was backed into a corner by political pressure.
December 10, 2015

Dear Media: Stop Using the Term 'Radicalized' Unless You Apply It to White Christian Extremists, Too


The double standard can't be more jarring: For days television networks and media outlets have been parroting the FBI in telling us how the San Bernadino shooters were "radicalized" at this or that time, or speculating on their "radicalization" and how it occurred. This terminology, when applied exclusively to terrorism inspired by a distortion of Islam, is discriminatory, and furthers the very anti-Muslim bigotry that Donald Trump and much of the GOP presidential field promote. The implication is that there are two kinds of Muslim: Radicalized - even if there's an acknowledgement that they represent a small minority, though often there's no such acknowledgment -- and non-radicalized.

The further implication is that any Muslim can become radicalized if x, y, and z happens -- a trip to Saudi Arabia, a text message with this or that individual, engaging with certain people on a Facebook page, etc. And yet, for several weeks not only have many in the media been reluctant to label Robert Dear, who carried out the Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado Springs, as a terrorist, but there's no discussion of him being "radicalized" by extremist Christianity. He expressed support for the Army of God, a Christian extremist terrorist group that has taken responsibility for the killings of doctors who provide abortions and whose members have killed others in name of stopping abortion, such as Atlanta Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, who also bombed a lesbian bar in that city. Dear declared in court yesterday that he is a "warrior for the babies." How much more radicalized can you get?

Dylan Roof became immersed in the deep cult of white supremacy that has been nurtured by groups like the Ku Klux Klan -- which also describes itself as a Christian group -- and many other groups for decades in this country, and surely he was radicalized to the point of carrying out a massacre in a South Carolina church. And yet, no one in the media has used the word radicalized to describe him.

Instead, white supremacist and Christian extremist killers are described as "lone wolves" or "deranged" or any number of other benign terms. The standard reply from those on the right -- or even many in the media defending themselves --is that there isn't a well-organized, large presence of established Christian extremists comparable to ISIS or its global threat. But putting aside for a moment the fact that more people in this country have been killed since 9/11 from right-wing terrorists than Islamic terrorists - 48 to 45 -- scale should not be what defines a terrorist or radicalization or what inspires it.
December 10, 2015

Connecticut Governor To Block People On Watch Lists From Buying Guns

Source: Huffington Post

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) announced Thursday he intends to sign a "common sense" executive order prohibiting individuals on government watch lists from buying guns. "This is a moment to seize here in America," Malloy said during a press conference. "It is incumbent upon leaders at all levels of government to protect its citizenry."

Pending approval from the federal government to access their databases, including the "no-fly" roster, Malloy said he will sign an order requiring those who apply for gun permits to be screened against government watch lists. Those who are on such lists would be banned from purchasing handguns, shotguns, rifles and ammunition.

"If Congress will not act, we in the states will," Malloy said.

He added there would be an appeals process for people who say they have been unfairly placed on government watch lists.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/connecticut-no-fly-list-guns_5669b285e4b009377b241282

December 10, 2015

White House Finalizes Proposal To Expand Background Checks On Gun Sales


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's advisers are finalizing a proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales without congressional approval. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says the president has asked his team to complete a proposal and submit it for his review "in short order." She says the recommendations will include measures to expand background checks.

Jarrett spoke Wednesday night at a vigil for the victims of the Newtown shooting, according to a summary provided by the White House.

After the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, Obama said his team was looking for ways to tighten gun laws without a vote in Congress. White House officials have said they're exploring closing the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows people to buy weapons at gun shows and online without a background check.
December 7, 2015

Climate Deniers Hold Event In Paris, Quietly Flops

A climate change denial event in Paris, organized jointly by two U.S groups, the coal-funded Heartland Institute and The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), held to coincide with the UN climate COP21 talks, quietly flopped Monday when hardly anyone turned up to listen to what actual experts consider to be Heartland's counter-factual nonsense.

Billed as the "Day of Examining the Data," the event was held at the Hotel California, across town from where the actual UN negotiations are taking place, Paris. Only about 30 people were in attendance, which is all the more embarrassing since the agenda featured roughly half this number as speakers. The turnout was only slightly better on the live stream, with only about another 100 people watching online.

Despite the abundance of available seating space, two reporters from DeSmog UK were ordered to leave the event which had been described as being "open to the public."


December 7, 2015

The 'Concussion' Scientist Has A Radical Proposition For Football

Treat it like we treat alcohol, voting, cigarettes and sex.


In an op-ed for The New York Times published Monday, a forensic pathologist by the name of Bennet Omalu argued for a unique approach to football’s concussion crisis: Require children to reach the legal age of consent before they can play the sport.
“We have a legal age for drinking alcohol; for joining the military; for voting; for smoking; for driving; and for consenting to have sex,” he wrote. “We must have the same when it comes to protecting the organ that defines who we are as human beings.”

You might not know Omalu’s name off the bat, but if you’ve turned on the TV in the last month, you likely know some version of his story. Omalu is the basis of Will Smith’s character in the upcoming film “Concussion,” which depicts Omalu's fight to prove that NFL players develop the brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a direct result of football -- a link the league famously tried to discredit.

Because CTE can only be detected in the dead, it is difficult to say exactly how dangerous it is to play football at a young age compared to later in life. But there are a growing number of signs that it may be not worth the risk. Two studies this year have provided evidence that NFL players who played tackle football before age 12 had an increased risk of cognitive issues later in life, compared to peers who started later. A study recently published by the Mayo Clinic found evidence of CTE in amateur athletes across a variety of sports, football included.

December 7, 2015

Ancient Etruscan Tomb Found 'Undisturbed' In Italy


An intact 2,300-year-old Etruscan tomb recently discovered in Italy may help shed light on an ancient civilization that flourished centuries before the rise of the Roman Empire. The tomb, found in a field near Città della Pieve, about 30 miles southwest of Perugia, had been partially buried in a landslide, according to local news outlet Perugia Today. Inside, archaeologists have found a number of artifacts including urns and a marble head, as well as two sarcophagi.

A worker had been plowing the field above the tomb in October when the machine jammed, leading to the spectacular find, according to Italian news outlet Umbria24, which says the tomb is at the end of a corridor 40 feet deep.

"It was a totally unexpected discovery," Clarita Natalini of the archaeological superintendency of Umbria told Discovery News. "The area is away from the sites visited by tomb robbers and indeed the burial is undisturbed." She said one of the sarcophagi has the name "Laris" on it.
November 22, 2015

Loser Diaper Dave Vitter will not seek reelection

Just announced on New Orleans news station WDSU. After losing LA Governor's race to Democrat John Bel Edwards, Vitter has announced he will not seek reelection to the Senate.

November 20, 2015

Phuc Dat Bich Wants Facebook To Know That, Yes, It's His Real Name


"Phuc Dat Bich" is not a 12-year-old's poorly spelled insult.

He's a 23-year-old Vietnamese-Australian who asserts he had his Facebook profile shut down multiple times over accusations he was using a fake name.

To prove his namesake to the world, he shared an image of his passport online.

Originally posted in January, the photo surged in popularity online this week, with more than 128,000 likes and 68,000 shares on Facebook as of Friday.
November 16, 2015

Here is how Syrian refugees get resettled in Louisiana


While last week's terrorist attacks in Paris have abruptly focused a spotlight on resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States, hundreds of refugees come to Louisiana every year. They often leave behind violence and persecution in their native countries to form new lives here.

In Louisiana, refugees are resettled by Catholic Charities in three cities: New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The agency's New Orleans area office, located in Metairie, would not comment Monday on Gov. Bobby Jindal's executive order to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to Louisiana. But in interviews in September and October, officials with Catholic Charities in New Orleans and Baton Rouge described how the program works:

About 150 people moved to the New Orleans area as refugees or through other resettlement programs during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. About 200 others moved to Baton Rouge. Some are formally classified as refugees, while others fall under different programs. For example, one program provides special immigrant visas for Iraq or Afghanistan residents who helped the U.S. military.

This year, both New Orleans and Baton Rouge expected their programs to grow somewhat in light of the civil war in Syria and the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. The State Department said Sunday that 14 Syrian refugees have settled in Louisiana this year. As of October, the New Orleans office of Catholic Charities expected the number of people served by its program to grow by about 25 people this fiscal year, many of them likely Syrians.

More at link . . .

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